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Republican Governors Just Might Save the Democratic Senate

Everybody agrees that Republicans will win the midterm elections and stand a better-than-ever chance of controlling the Senate. For months, a debate has raged over why. One analysis is structural. Democrats rely heavily on minorities and the young, who tend to skip midterm elections, making the electorate more Republican than the one that shows up at the polls every four years. Additionally, the Senate races this year force Democrats to defend far more seats, many of which are held in Republican territory.

The competing analysis is that the election represents a “wave.” Wave-theory advocates don’t deny that structural forces favor the GOP, but they tend to emphasize a backlash by the voters against President Obama and his policies. This way of thinking has particular appeal to conservatives, like Michael Barone (“That should settle the ongoing argument in psephological circles about whether this is a “wave” year”), Jennifer Rubin (“The intensely anti-Obama wave will lift many, but not all, Republican boats”), and Josh Kraushaar. Wave advocates see the midterms as America’s righteous punishment against liberal overreach.


Lost Sheep Takes a Stroll on Metro-North Tracks

Metro-North's latest problem is way more adorable than usual. A sheep wandered onto the tracks in Sleepy Hollow on Wednesday morning, slowing trains as they passed through the area. "Maintainers were able to safely shoo it back to a nearby gate from where it escaped," an MTA spokesman told Gothamist. "They then closed the gate. Service was not impacted, but we had trains operating at restricted speed on all tracks through the area until there was word the sheep had been cleared at 11:31 a.m."

A rider snapped a photo. »

What We Know About the Canada Parliament Shooter

"This is the kind of day that changes everything," said Canadian MP John McKay. On Wednesday, Canada — a country so unaccustomed to terrorism and gun violence that most parliament security guards were unarmed until recently — was deeply shaken by a shooting in Ottawa that left a corporal guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier at the National War Memorial dead, and political leaders stacking furniture against doors as they heard dozens of shots on the other side.

Adding to the terror, downtown Ottawa was on lockdown for much of the day, as police combed the area for what they said could be two or three shooters. Eventually, they concluded that there was only one gunman: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who was killed in a shootout with security in Parliament, steps from where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was addressing his party. Here's what we've learned about him so far.


Ebola Death Toll May Actually Be 15,000, Not 5,000

President Obama said on Wednesday that he's "cautiously more optimistic" about the Ebola situation in the United States now that we know no one else who had initial contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola, has contracted the disease. Sadly, there aren't many reasons to be optimistic about the outbreak in West Africa. The official death toll is now 4,877, but the World Health Organization says the real number is probably much higher. As Reuters reports, Ebola cases are believed to be underreported "by a factor of 1.5 in Guinea, 2 in Sierra Leone and 2.5 in Liberia, while the death rate is thought to be about 70 percent of all cases." That means it's likely that about 15,000 people have already died.

Man Jumps White House Fence; Secret Service Remembers to Release the Hounds

Just weeks after multiple security breaches that led to the resignation of the head of the Secret Service, the agency managed to stop a young man darting across the White House lawn. Officials say Dominic Adesanya, 23, of Bel Air, Maryland, jumped the north fence of the White House at 7:16 p.m. on Wednesday. "He was immediately taken into custody by canine units and Uniformed Division officers," said Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan.

TV news cameras captured the incident. »

Camel Bans Smoking at Work Starting in 2015

Reynolds American Inc., which makes Camel cigarettes, will no longer allow smoking in its offices, conference rooms, and elevators beginning next year, the AP reports, because apparently it's bad for you or something. "We're just better aligning our tobacco use policies with the realities of what you're seeing in society today," a spokesperson insisted, meaning e-cigs and chewing tobacco will still be allowed. The North Carolina–based company will also build designated indoor smoking rooms, because this is America, goddammit.

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